Wigan residents urged to complete Census to avoid visit from officials

Field officers are now knocking on doors at households which have not filled out the form.
Wiganers need to complete the Census as soon as possibleWiganers need to complete the Census as soon as possible
Wiganers need to complete the Census as soon as possible

The Office for National Statistics (ONS), which organises the enormous once-in-a-decade survey of households, says field officers are out and about visiting homes where the records show there has been no response.

With Census Day on March 21 having been and gone, residents who have still not filled in the questionnaire need to do so urgently or run the risk of financial penalties.

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Field officers began visiting homes where a completed form has not been received over the Easter weekend and the operation to check up on non-respondents will peak this week, the ONS says.

“Census 2021 has gone brilliantly so far,” ONS director of operations Pete Benton said. “The overwhelming majority of people across England and Wales have already taken part and we’ve heard some great stories: from those completing their 10th census to those completing their first.

“But, for us to have the most accurate picture of the whole population, we need everyone to fill in their questionnaire.

“By doing so you will be helping shape the local services in your community – the bus routes, school places, the hospital beds.

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“You can do it easily online, but for those who want help, we have a range of census support centres open across England and Wales, and paper forms are available for those who need them.

“Everyone is required by law to respond to the census and if you do so now you won’t be fined.”

The ONS says completing the questionnaire should only take around 10 minutes per person.

The field officers are there to give help and encouragement to those who have not yet filled in their census questionnaire online or on paper after Census Day and direct them to the support services they need.

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The ONS says field staff will never need to enter people’s houses; they will always be socially distanced, be equipped with PPE and work in line with all government guidance.

They will be operating in the same way as a postal or food delivery visit.

They also carry ID to show they are genuinely working on the Census so residents are being urged to check they are bone fide representatives of the survey.

All households were sent a letter in the post in early March with instructions for taking part.

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Anyone who has lost the letter or has a second address they have not visited can go to census.gov.uk to request an online completion code for their property via text message.

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